The modern day drive-thru in the United States developed alongside the interstate highway system. Quickly prepared menus of hand-held foods drew in truckers and vacationing families.
Today, there’s a drive-thru of some brand off highways, city corners, shopping centers, and anywhere else there is a market share to claim. For all their convenience, many chains who offer dining room seating close their lobbies before Last Call.
Not wanting to lose out on that late-night traffic, many chains leave their drive-thru lanes open, but restrict their service to customers in cars. During the many years without a car, I longed to be able to walk through and get my favorite treats.
While many argue that walking through the drive-thru is no different than driving, walking through is strictly forbidden. The reasoning is that walking through is dangerous for both customers and the establishment’s staff.
If a walking customer were to be struck by another car, the establishment may face liability. It’s also argued that individuals walking up to the window are better positioned for attacking workers than if they were seated in a car.
Whether you agree or not, we’re accustomed to seeing cars and motorcycles in drive-thrus. On their way home from a fundraiser in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, Marcella Gruchalak and Shelly Tate had a different idea.
The two experienced equestrians are actively involved with The Western Thoroughbred, a Facebook community page that follows horses competing in western sports.
On this night, they thought they’d take Tate’s horse, Funny Bunny, aka Buns, to Wendy’s for a much needed snack.
Gruchalak filmed the occasion that turned a lot of heads. One car stopped and watched, pleasantly surprised to see the calm and well-behaved horse maneuver the transaction.
The pair posted the video of their adventure, which grabbed a lot of attention within their community. Many people wanted to know how the ladies trained the horse to remain calm.
Horses are known to spook easily, a situation that can cause serious injury if the rider is thrown off. On Jan. 28, Gruchalak posted a response answering frequent inquires about the video.
She started with the importance of high-quality training and the rider having a comfortable and commanding handle of the horse. Next, “I like to try to expose him to anything that could potentially be a scary experience.
“I step up how scary each situation is once my horse gets used to each obstacle,” she wrote. She also warned people to take precaution.
“Know the types of situations your horse is comfortable in and the types of situations that make him nervous and do not do anything that is out of your safety zone for you and/or your horse. It’s all about good horsemanship and learning.”
For the same safety and liability concerns that prevent walk-up customers, it’s unlikely that horses will qualify as a “vehicle” permitted in the drive-thru. Buns wowed the internet with no one else in the drive-thru lane.
A crowded drive-thru and/or an inexperienced horse/rider pair could prove catastrophic. But for a few moments out of our days, we can all watch and enjoy Buns and her late-night fast food run.
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